Parked at the frontage of the Restaurant are fleet of exotic cars . On the facing board of the building is a big signboard and boldly written on it is AFRICAN PALACE RESTAURANT & BAR . While the artworks of Caribbean Cuisine artistically displayed on the door could make one salivate as one glances at the artwork .
Assorted wine glasses , Wines and Whiskies at the Bar Section
A quick glimpse of the restaurant welcomes you to the well -designed and well- arranged banquet hall .The Restaurant furniture in the Banquet Hall are well -crafted wooden chairs. The beautiful sparkling lightnings brightens the Palace coupled with different disco colors that would remind you the Children’s rhythms of Twinkle , Twinkle Little Star…... The lights are all sparkling and producing different colors with effects .The sittings are well arranged and colorful while the aroma of their food wafted in the air as the sliding door to the kitchen was slightly opened.
Looking around one could see people of different nationalities , of different colors and races asking for African food!.African food?, Yes! with affordable prices. No wonder African -Americans are yearning to go to Africa their fatherland from where their ancestors came from.What makes African Palace Restaurant tick is a four letter word : L…..O….V …..E for African Food .
BoN during an interview with Osun
WHAT MAKES AFRICAN PALACE TICK
At the Bar section are assorted drinks (not Ogogoro) , in fact the bottles are of different shapes and colors while the contents are of different colors and taste. A self- professed Born Again Christian who claims
Bayo Ogunmolawa, Gboyega Agaun, Kofo Osun, Chief Gboyega Aruwajoye (late) and Mrs. Kike Osun at African Palace during an engagement
he does not take alcohol could be tempted if he glances at these well – designed bottles or could be attracted by the beautiful colored contents calling his attention to gulp a pint. Not only this the Wines also could make one ask for more with the way the well- crafted bottles with different designs are displayed .
On the shelves are Vodka,Gin, Rum, Tequila, Whiskey,Brandy, Beer, Vermouth,Mezcal,Irish Whiskey,Pisco, Canadian Whiskey,Schnapps among others. What of the glass cups ? A set of over 150 wine glasses are beautifully arranged upside down under cabinet and the setting could make you beg to be arranged along with it! .Yes, they are on top hanging , shining., but no, they will not fall off!…That is African Palace for you, where everything is enticing or attractive.
Prince Agaun at African Palace
According to Prince Gboyega Agaun ( aka LOBO) who describes the beauty of the Bar and said the setting of the wine glasses alone could make one ‘commit’ if one is a non -drinker , he added ” In African Palace you have different types of Glass wine like Cabernet, Burgundy, Bordeaux, Zinfandel Pinort Noir , Rose and Chardonnay which are meant for different types of wines like White, Red , Sparkling and Rose wines.You see, I love hearing the clinking of these wine glasses which thrills me” , Agaun said as he was counting them on his finger tips . The Prince who has been patronizing the restaurant for years is from Owo in Ondo State , Nigeria . He said ” this is where we entertain visitors from Nigeria, United Kingdom and all over the world , it is a super and good place to be , and I mean it because you would be satisfied with all what you need ”
Engineer Samson Adekunle Obanigba who has spent over 30 years in America and now in St.Louis said he does not bring visitors here to entertain only but also sees African Palace as a place for business meetings.He said ”apart from eating here this place is also used for Club meetings , engagements ,ceremonies and parties. My sister In-law used this Hall to to celebrate her birthday , so also my mother in law .
This place is a good place to be with their neatness and high standard of good quality food , it is super excellent “.
The Engineer continued ”Here at African palace you will smell local soup ( Obe Oogun, Obe Koowu, Obe itogho, Obe Efo, efo riro, pepper soup with Owo ingredients ). Here you see Amala, fufu, eba, iyan, rice, beans, dodo, among others and different types of fish. African Palace is like a good palm wine for customers who visits .After all a good palm wine needs no advertisement!”.
No wonder the name African Palace Restaurant is popular in St.Louis , State of Missouri in America.The name African Palace is synonymous with Kofo Osun. When you mention African Palace then they will mention Kofo or Koffi. The moment you enter African Palace you have arrived your native land or home!. If you are from any tribe in Africa then walk in and ask for your menu. A man from Osun state in Nigeria who begs for anonymity said ” I come here every Wednesday to take home Oka with Obe gbegiri also called abula. I am from Ogbomoso in Nigeria. The food here is fantastic and I no longer miss home again”. Julius (surname withheld) is another customer that patronizes the restaurant, he is from Benin in Nigeria .Julius said ” I eat ogha, ogbonno , along with periwinkles and pounded yam here infact this place is a -must for lovers of African food,this place is home away from home. A South African man who visits African Palace said ” I fall in love with their suya, the way Koffi ( Kofo) prepares it is spicy , it is delicious. ”
The moment you step into African Palace you have ‘arrived’ African soil as you would meet all tribes in Africa, like Yoruba, Hausa, Ibo , South, East and North Africans , but the reason is not far fetched for you would see African food such as Eba, Iyan , Amala and other African food. What of soup? They have all kinds from okra soup, vegetable, Egunsi, ogbonno, Ogha, Ugba, and other African soups cum ponmo, bush meat, snail, assorted fish and the orisirisi ( assorted meat) .
Bob Marley’s portrait
Yes the restaurant is always full and busy from Tuesday to Sunday. On Friday night the workers are as busy as bees . Why? the answer is it is Reggae Night. On Friday you are welcome to the DJ lightnings as one could see the disco ball or mirror ball or glitter ball which reflects lights in many directions. The Dee Jay is ever ready to give you all types of Reggae music(Roots, Rock , Makkosa, Punky) with his electronic base speakers booming from all corners of the dancing Hall. African Palace have the latest Reggae Music in the world.Here Jamaican and Reggae Music lovers are seen with their dreadlocks swinging on their shoulders or descending down their backs while you heard them speaking their patois .They greet you shouting One love with their clenched fists , or give knuckles touches as a greeting while others would scream Jah Rastafari . Attend a Friday Reggae night and you would beg the Dee Jay not to stop the music.
While Waiters, Waitresses go around with smile asking customers what they would like to order from the menu , carry out is also available.
Ronnie Jones describes African Palace thus “I love African Palace . I had never tasted African food before now. One of my co-workers suggested I tried it out for he always bring African food in for himself. Not only this , their Suya is a specially prepared meat is quite good. Taste their food and you will come back again”, I must have it at least twice a week the African -American who married a Nigerian boasted, and added ” I enjoy the Friday Reggae Night, this is a place I always go to defuse my tension and relax by dancing to several Reggae music”
THE MAN, KOFO OSUN
A visitor from Nigeria came looking for one Kofo Osun for a private discussion . One of the Servers asked him to exercise patience .The visitor was shocked when he was introduced to the man who had been serving customers and pacing ups and downs, the visitor could not believe.Why? He expected the manager to be in his office, shouting and commanding .’That is the Koffi you are looking for , the owner of the African Palace.”
The visitor was shocked to his bone marrow seeing the Managing Director serving .Unlike in Nigeria where the owner would cross his legs wining and be ordering and supervising his workers , but for Kofo, he along with his co-workers worked side by side and crack jokes.
Kofo is a man of few words. While some call him Brother, others call him Uncle ,but he is called ”Koffi” by Americans, African-Americans , Indians, Mexicans and other nationalities, who pronounce his name Kofo as Koffi , a Ghanaian name. But whether you call him Koffi or Kofo he does not blink an eye , he would only tell you that ”that is how they can pronounce it ”. Kofo is from Owo, Ondo State , Nigeria.
Kofo is about five foot 10 inches tall. He is handsome and with an oval face .He is charming and loving .He smiles always like a man who wins millions of dollars from Casino always .Yes, some call him a Philanthropist , others call him a role model.He is approachable as many testified and gave testimonies of his generosity .
When approached , he with full smile started his story “I have spent 32 years here in America and I thank God for His mercies on me”.He continued as he gave reasons why he established the Restaurant, Why he named it African Palace, his love for his home town and why he established a sister African Palace in Akure , Ondo State , Nigeria.The reason behind his Friday Reggae Night , .Listen to him in this video.